David Recine

Learn Business English With CNN Money: “English Names” in China

I often use CNN Money, an American business news website, to teach business English to my students.

Today, I have an especially interesting article for our readers. The article looks at the business practice of adopting a personal “English name,” a name your English-speaking colleagues can easily pronounce when they address you or refer to you.

Choosing an English name is especially common at companies in East Asia, where local names have very different sounds and tones than names in English. But this practice can be useful for international business people from all around the world. To find out more, read CNN Money’s article, “Meet the entrepreneur helping Chinese people avoid names like ‘Furry’.”

Practice for your TOEFL exam with Magoosh.

To help you understand this article, I’ve made a mini-dictionary of this news story’s key words and phrases. I’ve also recorded myself reading the article aloud. You can use the audio in this post for listening practice, and you can also treat it as a model for your own spoken pronunciation. Enjoy!

Key terms

  • offbeat: strange and unusual
  • smirks: smiles people make when they are making fun of someone, or when they think something is stupid
  • baffled: very confused; surprised and confused
  • entrepreneur: a person who creates and runs their own business
  • marginalize: to make something unimportant; to prevent someone from being able to fully participate or succeed
  • to get really hung up on: to become very distracted by something
  • scarce: uncommon, not readily available
  • memorable: easy to remember; enjoyable to remember
  • one-on-one consultation:  a meeting between just two people where one person, called a consultant, gives advice to the other person.
  • package deals: multiple items or things that are sold together at a lower price
  • doesn’t go over so well: isn’t seen as very good; is seen as somewhat bad
  • omens: signs of good or bad luck; sings of possible good or bad events in the future
  • omit: to not include something
  • complements: accompanies something, makes something more complete, is pleasantly associated with something

Audio of the article

(Click the sound file image below; audio will open in a new window.)

business English

Other CNN Money Business English Lessons

If you found this lesson helpful, you may enjoy the other CNN Money-based business English lessons we have here on the Magoosh TOEFL Blog:


  • David Recine

    David is a Test Prep Expert for Magoosh TOEFL and IELTS. Additionally, he’s helped students with TOEIC, PET, FCE, BULATS, Eiken, SAT, ACT, GRE, and GMAT. David has a BS from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and an MA from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. His work at Magoosh has been cited in many scholarly articles, his Master’s Thesis is featured on the Reading with Pictures website, and he’s presented at the WITESOL (link to PDF) and NAFSA conferences. David has taught K-12 ESL in South Korea as well as undergraduate English and MBA-level business English at American universities. He has also trained English teachers in America, Italy, and Peru. Come join David and the Magoosh team on Youtube, Facebook, and Instagram, or connect with him via LinkedIn!

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